Indiana Jones and the Temple of Controversy

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by JohnWesleyDowney, Jun 27, 2008.

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  1. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
    Temple of Doom always seems to be the film in the Indy series that brings out extremes in reaction. I always just took it at face value...I did not want a repeat of Raiders, nor did I expect one, I liked the fact that it was different and darker and had lots of action. I enjoyed Short Round "cwash landing!", and the fact that this one was set in a different culture with a different goal. Keeping in mind that this is an earlier adventure of a more mercenary Indy, I liked the character growth it represented. I loved the over the top action sequences, which were signaled by the opening song ANYTHING GOES, the Cole Porter classic tune of the period. I thought it was a fun movie and by the way, I think the opening sequence showed Spielberg could do just about anything...the opening titles alone were an experience. The Busby Berkeley dance number was Lucas's idea, because Steven had always wanted to do a musical...this gave him his chance, Spielberg jumped on the idea.

    I went back and did a little research on Temple of Doom in the book THE COMPLETE MAKING OF INDIANA JONES: THE DEFINITIVE STORY BEHIND ALL FOUR FILMS.

    The original title of the movie was INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DEATH. Lucas specifically says in one quote that they were looking to make a film that was more "edgy", but they did eventually back off of the word "Death" in the title.

    Temple of Doom was released on a modest 1,685 screens (modest by today's standards) in the U.S. and Canada on May 23, 1984. Weeks before it's opening, theatre owners who had seen previews had demanded prints for 500 more screens, sensing it would be a hit. They were correct. Temple of Doom recorded a one day record at that time, $ 9 million worth of tickets sold in a single day.

    Temple of Doom also set a record for the largest one week gross in the history of movies at that time, $ 45,709,328. According to a Variety headline, front page article by James Greenberg entitled: JONES BUILDS A TEMPLE OF GOLD, Temple of Doom, in setting these two records, surpassed the records set the previous year by STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI!

    It was the # 1 film of 1984 in Japan, and broke numerous records in Australia.

    Final tally on "Doom" was that it made 333 million dollars internationally, easily paying back Paramount on it's budget of $ 28,175,356.

    As Lucas says, "Temple of Doom invented the PG-13 rating because it was too gross to be a G, and it wasn't gross enough to be an R."

    My favorite line is in the camp scene, "the trouble with her...is the noise."

    Temple of Doom is the Rodney Dangerfield of Indiana Jones movies. It doesn't get any respect.
    Let's discuss it.

    If it had been the first Indiana Jones film released, how would it have done?

  2. Princess_Tina Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    It might have received a lot of criticism, even if it had been the 1st Indiana Jones movie, because of all the things that led to the adoption of the PG-13 rating in its aftermath. However, all other Indy movies would be perceived as having "toned it down" after TOD.

    For me, it's still a lot of fun. There were things I didn't like too much about it when it first came out, but they don't seem like a big deal now, 24 years later.

    One thing that was cool is that when it came out, I watched it at a theater that let you stay for as many showings as you wanted, and there may have been a few times when I watched it 2-3 times in a row on the same day. It was fun. :cool:
  3. Emp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2000
    star 2
    Ah, those were the days.

    :)
  4. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5

    I remember at the first showing I saw, a mother took her son...who looked about five, out of the theatre after Mola Ram "removed" the guy's heart. I think the mother was more freaked out than the kid, and I have to wonder why she brought him to see the film in the first place.
    There'd been a lot of publicity about how intense it was.
  5. Princess_Tina Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    I can see why the heart scene might have been a little bit intense for a 5-year-old... :p
  6. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Well, seeing as I wasn't born yet when the film was initially released, I have no clue what it was like back then. However, ToD was the very first Indiana Jones film I was exposed to. My dad had taped it off of TV and I found the VHS one day and decided to watch it because the guy who played Han Solo was in it. Little did I know that viewing would start a whole new craze for me. I loved it and I proceeded to watch it over and over again. For a long time, ToD was my favorite Indy film. There was no matching it. But as I got older, I slowly came to appreciate the other two films more until ultimately, Raiders became my favorite. So, maybe it's a thing with youth. Sure, the story is very dark and more adult-themed, but there was something about it that just fascinated me as a kid.

    So, regardless of the backlash the film receives now, I still think it would've been a hit had it been the first film released in the series.
  7. Darth Mace Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 1999
    star 4
    I think ToD would have done just fine if it was the first one released. I think Raiders would have actually been less well received if it came after since it wouldn't had been as "dark" as the "original".

    I'm sure someone will know which it was, but I saw one review for KotCS that basically said that if this story had come first, it would have set the standard for all the others. The only reason it wasn't as well received it because it was the 4th film. It went on to say that the 4 Indy films are like eating 4 pounds of sausage. You like sausage so it's all good, but that first pound is going to taste the best. After that, it's just more sausage.
  8. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    That was Roger Ebert.
  9. WookieeWarrior9 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2007
    star 3
    I love ToD and I don't really understand why it's so hated. The reason George has been so successful with his sequels is that he actually adds to the story and doesn't make the sequel a rehash of the original (minus the intro of the characters). And Shorty is the only kid in movie history to actually add to the story and not feel "tacked on".
  10. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5

    And Shorty is the only kid in movie history to actually add to the story and not feel "tacked on".

    That's very true!

    It's amazing the job that kid did. A total novice actor, on the big screen holding his own with Harrison Friggin' Ford. I believed they were friends, that they cared about each other, and I liked the humor in the card game especially.

  11. Palpateen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2000
    star 4


    Temple of Doom is one of the greatest action movies of the 80s. It's fun and kinetic and a great adventure popcorn movie. Following Raiders, any movie they made would have suffered by comparison, but in retrospect it was a worthy sequel to the Indy's intro movie. If anyone other than Spielberg had made it, they would have been instantly recognized as a major new director.
  12. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5


    Interesting trivia note involving wardrobe:

    The vest that Indiana Jones wears in the palace scenes is a Han Solo vest made for the Star Wars trilogy.

    :eek:
  13. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Wait, what? Where did you find that info? That's pretty darn cool!
  14. darthdrago Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2003
    star 4
    As an action flick, ToD is in fine swashbuckling form.

    As an Indy Jones flick, it takes a hit quality-wise. Not that I consider it bad, but I admit that I end up rolling my eyes at this one more than the other films. This is mainly because of Willie Scott. Her character is grating. Except for her half-hearted rescue of Indy & Shorty, she really doesn't do anything beneficial. I guess maybe it's my reaction after having been exposed to a scrappier character of Marion in Raiders. I've always thought that, if the story's well-written, strong female characters will always be appreciated by an audience. That era gave us Marion Ravenwood, Princess Leia, Sarah Connor, and Ellen Ripley, all popular characters. So I suppose my negativity to the character is because Willie became a "Bond girl" instead of a foil to Indy.

    But I'll admit that I'm being a little harsh. Kate Capshaw herself says in the Bonus Features DVD that she considers herself a solid feminist , but regarded the role as harmless fun. So if it's good enough for her, then I guess I can give it a pass. :p
  15. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Willie Scott is a major drag on my enjoyment of this movie; for me she is to ToD what for many people JJ Binks is to TPM. I have a hard time getting past her constant whining, lack of courage and selfish atttitude, and I wonder what the otherwise admirable Jones would see in her beyond a convenient boink. Especially in the wake of such a remarkably spirited, bold and self-confident character as Marion, since the release of this movie I've always found the Willie character annoying and trite. She spoils the fun for me.

    The numerous instances of unbelievable fantasy action have also downgraded the movie in my eyes since its release in 1984, when I was 14 years old. Raiders for me represented, even then, the absolute pinnacle of action-adventure filmmaking, largely because it was realistic and convincing, even and especially during the fantasy sequences such as the Ark spirits' revenge. Such scenes were depicted as though they were really happening and could in real life. In ToD, however, we're treated to one unbelievable action "gag" after another: the parachuting life raft which lands perfectly upright in the water; the roller-coaster mine-cart which defies physics by cartoonishly leaping over a gap to land perfectly upright on the next segment of tracks; the heart-removal which leaves no visible wound. Also, the very presence of Short Round represents a strain in credulity, because as naturally talented as the young actor is, it's patently unbelievable that Jones would take on such a young, weak and undereducated little sneak-thief as his "side-kick". Add to these disappointments the unpalatable experience of seeing Jones' mind dominated by evil for a third of the picture (when so much of the fun depends on Jones being the good guy), and what I'm left with is roughly twenty minutes of bare-knuckled, old-fashioned Indiana Jones fun. Those 20 minutes are a blast, no doubts there, but they're not enough to inspire me to re-watch the movie time and again as I often do with Raiders.
  16. JohnWesleyDowney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2004
    star 5
    Your comments are fine with me, this is a discussion thread for a controversial movie, but I would take issue with you on one point. Have you watched the film recently? I think your memory is a little foggy. Indy is not under the influence of the Thuggee mind control for "a third of the picture." I haven't timed it, but it's nowhere near that much which would be about 40 minutes of the film! Maybe HALF that at the most.

    HanSolo29, I got that info about Indy's wardrobe from IMDB.
  17. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Okay, I'll concede that he's only under for 15-20 minutes, and that his drugged state is only part of the plot, most of which I do think is imaginative and fun. The whole point of that subplot is to disturb the audience and make them miss Jones, and in that the movie is certainly successful. I'm probably being far too nitpicky with ToD, as there are definitely some bright spots, and the story is very engaging -- even if Willie is annoying and Short Round seems an unlikely partner.

    EDIT: BTW, I've seen ToD so many times -- in its original run, on cable and on video -- that I have much of it memorized. The last time I watched it was about three years ago; at the end of it my girlfriend-now-wife and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and agreed it was dumb but fun.
  18. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    haha, we pretty much have the exact opposite opinion of what style works best for Indy. Your description of Willie pretty much sums up why she's my favorite Indy girl. I think the whole damsel showgirl thing perfectly complements all the pulp and pomp that made Temple my favorite installment. Different strokes, I suppose. My biggest eye-rolling moment has always been the "kiss and make it feel better" scene from Raiders.
  19. GrandAdmiral_Frank Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2003
    star 4
    If it had been released first then I think it would have made money but it wouldn't been so iconic.
  20. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    In your defense, I remember the audience response toward Willie Scott being extremely favorable; the laughter erupting around me in the theaters in 1984 was loud and sincere, even as I stewed in annoyance that Marion -- a plucky chick with verve and courage to spare -- was nowhere to be found.
  21. SkottASkywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2002
    star 4
    I remember seeing INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM in theaters way back when.

    I really enjoy this movie. It's incredible, amazing fun. It definitely pushes plausibility and reality, but all in good fun and it works.

    It definitely makes a strong case for Indiana Jones being the top action hero. And Harrison Ford, regardless of which movie in the series, is absolutely Indiana Jones.

    I enjoy Willie Scott and Shortround and the humor and affection they bring. The villians are well realized. The story is compelling and fun and the action is amazing. The music/soundtrack is, once again, incredible and memorable.
    There's definitely a difference between Marion and Willie and I enjoy them both.

    But, Indy defintely married the right one. :cool:
  22. Princess_Tina Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 6
    Well said! And I think even Spielberg might agree! ;)
  23. HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2001
    star 6
    Oh boy, you guys had to bring up Willie. :p

    It's funny you should describe her as being obnoxious and over the top. It is for that very reason that my friend and I have laughed at her and used her as the object of jokes when we were younger. No one could forget her scream and that's the very thing we used to make fun of. Those were good times. ;)
  24. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    I've never had a problem with Willie or Jar Jar Binks for that matter. I've always accepted them as the comic relief they are. One of the best things about TOD is Indy's reactions to Willie's behavior.

    "That's why they call it the jungle, sweetheart."
  25. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I didn't even like TEMPLE OF DOOM when I first saw. When I saw it for the second time, it became one of my all time favorite films ever. And it is still my favorite Indiana Jones film. It's not perfect. But then neither were RAIDERS, LAST CRUSADE and CRYSTAL SKULLS. But as far as scripts go, I think it had the strongest story. Well, it had the best ending in compare to the other three films.

    I know that a lot of people don't like Willie Scott. I adore her. She is far from perfect and that is what I find appealing about her. She's different from the usual leading lady. A real, die-in-the-wool golddigger. Both Spielberg and Capshaw are claiming that Willie was a woman who led a privledged life, which explained her dislike of being in the middle of an adventure. I think that's a lot of crap. Willie was a woman who loved the idea of living a privledged life, hence her determination to find a rich husband or a successful career. But Willie is a survivor of the toughest kind.

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